Making it pretty


This is the corner of the yard I see from my desk when my desk is in my office, which it is not at this time and won’t be for quite a while. But when I do get my office back, I’ll be looking out at where we’ve covered the ground where no grass can grow with pretty river rocks. And by “we” I mean Debby, because I did none of this. She gets my Landscaping Hero of the Season award.

homecoming draws closer

Progress is being made!

There are doors and trim to be painted, cabinets to stain, and a bathroom sink to remove from the middle of the kitchen floor…

You can tell things are happening because it’s the RETURN OF THE DEBRIS PILE ON THE CURB!

The mayor says Phase 1 of debris removal is complete. We need Phase 2 to reach our neighborhood, because all the houses whose curbs weren’t full are full now, and almost all of us who had stuff removed now have more. Also, our streets are full of nails and other tire-unfriendly things. Now that Tom and I have replaced both cars, we’d like to keep our tires. (In the Yes I’m Bitter Department: we BOTH bought new tires for our cars just before Harvey came and drowned them.)

Also back with us are two Lambert dogs (Pollock is sticking with Tim in the secret Unicorn Sanctuary).

Here’s Penny gazing at the door to Fox Den. She wants to be there so much with Tim and her siblings.

And Pixie’s not impressed by the current Houndstooth Hall decor.

It won’t be too much longer, P Dogs. Then at least half of this will be out of what used to be the office.

The rest will go when Debby’s place is finished. They don’t have any furniture, but they’ll have lots of boxes!

Portrait of the Artist

I think I did pretty well after the flood as we started pulling stuff out of the house and I ruthlessly decided what was trash and what wasn’t. “I don’t care” became my stock response to every item someone else expressed sympathy about. But when I found this in a flooded bin, it made me physically ill. I didn’t know I still had it. I’d even asked my brother last year if he had it, and he thought he did.

This discovery about broke me.

Debby and Lynne painstakingly lifted it from the water and found a way to place it where it could dry. It did dry, and the truth is, there was already some staining on the sketch long before our flood, but nothing like it has now.

Written on the bottom: HERE’S AN ARTIST’S CONCEPTION OF ME. I can’t read the artist’s name, but I think the date is 1949, which would corroborate what my mother once told me, that the sketch was done of my father by one of his fellow art students while he was in college.

Today’s Daddy’s birthday. The sketch is weathered but it will be okay. Like me.

He was one of the biggest reasons I’m a strong person.

Button Sunday

September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day.

For more information about recognizing the risk factors and warning signs of suicide, please visit the American Association of Suicidology website. If you are struggling, please visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline website. You can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

Going through bins of old mementos and papers, I found cards and letters from Aaron both to me and to my mother. Post-flooding, my heart is not strong enough to read them right now. My home and heart will heal from the flood. My heart will always have broken places from losing and missing Aaron.

Please reach out for help if you need help.

Who saved my sanity…

In the first week after the floods:

Lindsey and Rhonda, who came and packed so many of the things that made me feel daunted and overwhelmed.

Tim who in light of all he’s lost could continue to say, “They’re just things.”

A young man named Dustin who doesn’t really even know us but went through the house with Tom and helped him get a starting point in dealing with the destruction.

Our contractor Keith, who when asked to come look at the damage, not only showed up the next day but brought a crew of workers with him and began tearing out sheetrock and pulling up flooring and gave us good advice on how to start setting things right.

And the bunch below: Pete, Lynne, Debby, Tom, and Jess. They have packed and moved and cleaned. Hauled debris. Fed, cheered, and comforted. And Jess was with us, helping us, instead of spending his son’s first birthday with him. I will NEVER forget the feeling of Pete and Jess showing up raring to put our world back in order. We wished Isaac a long-distance happy birthday with our pizza. He will always be blessed with examples of what family means.

Who else? You know who you are. You emailed and called. You texted and messaged. You commented here and on Instagram. You offered to do anything you could to help. Just knowing you’re out there sending love and good wishes has been huge. My gaze toward the future and determination to make Houndstooth Hall even better has been inspired by you. Thank you.

A tale of three cameras


On the left is my D40. It’s the first digital SLR camera I bought in 2008. I was in love and I immediately mistreated it by letting it fall off the over-the-bed table in my mother’s pre-hospice care room. All that tumble did was disable the flash and I bought an external flash for it. After my mother died, I sent it away for repair, and Lindsey loaned me her camera when we had my mother’s memorial service late summer of 2008.

The D40 has logged a lot of joy and sorrow, and it was the camera I was using when I began photographing RPM’s dogs and cats in 2013. I knew I was using it a lot. A LOT. I worried about how long it would last.

In stepped Tim. When he bought his second Nikon, he gifted me the middle camera here, the D60. His generosity was a lifesaver when my D40 had to be repaired. Once it was good to go, the D60 was my backup camera. Then the D40 had to be repaired again. These are not cheap repairs, and I made an agreement with myself. I couldn’t keep fixing a camera just because of my sentimental attachment to it. So when it was fixed, the D60 became my primary camera and the D40 is my backup.

Last Thursday at transport, we were about halfway through when I felt something happen inside the D60 and it stopped working. I ran for my D40 and finished the job.

SO… Of course I’ll have the D60 repaired. After all, it was given to me and hasn’t cost me anything yet. It deserves its repair. But it will take a while to get that taken care of, and the thought of depending on my poor exhausted D40 to shoot anywhere from 300 to 500 photos at transport was unnerving.

Enter the camera on the right, my new D3400. It’s an economical little thing compared to so many other Nikons, all my lenses will work with it, and I can take my time getting D60 repaired. People ask why I don’t spring for a more professional grade camera. I’m not a photographer. I’m just a girl with a camera who likes to take photos. The more complicated the camera, the more intimidated I am. These little workhorses are the right choices for me.

Unless I win the lottery. =)